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Input sought on Cornwall store

CORNWALL — The Cornwall selectboard is circulating a community-wide survey in hopes of settling the future of the town-owned Lavalley Store building once and for all at next March’s town meeting.
The Lavalley building is a circa-1880s structure located next to the Cornwall Town Hall. It was used for decades as a store and as a residence before being vacated and donated to the town by the Lavalley family in 2001.
In early 2003, the Cornwall Historical Society presented a three-phased plan to put the building back into service, and later moved the contents of the store into the community’s DAR House. Cornwall Historical Society and citizen efforts resulted in re-roofing of the Lavalley building and its placement on the National Register of Historic Places.
Voters at Cornwall’s 2007 annual meeting made, seconded, but ultimately tabled a motion to demolish the Lavalley Store, pending a new effort to seek funding for restoration of the building. That citizen effort resulted in a ambitious proposal to renovate the building for reuse as a business, but proponents could not find the dollars to put the plan into motion.
In the meantime, town officials noted, a widening and resurfacing of Route 30 has exacerbated parking and traffic problems in front of the building, which continues to be without independent water or sewer service.
The Lavalley store remains unoccupied and unused except for seasonal, temporary use as a vegetable and flower stand, said town officials. With debate about the property now a decade old, selectboard members hope to settle the Lavalley Store matter at town meeting next March. The recently mailed townwide survey should help, according to Cornwall selectboard Chairman Bruce Hiland.
“This is an earnest effort as we move toward some sort of a resolution of the Lavalley Store issue,” Hiland said. “We want citizens to help inform the wording of our town meeting article.”
Respondents are asked to declare their preference for one of the four following scenarios:
•  Dismantle the structure, sell salvageable components and recycle the remainder. Estimated cost: $15,000-$25,000.
•  Sell/auction the building for whatever amount the town can get with the condition that the structure be removed from the property within six months. Estimated cost: $5,000-$10,000.
•  Move the salvageable portion(s) to other town-owned property in acknowledgement of the historical importance of the building. Estimated cost: $16,000-$20,000.
•  Restored the building to useful service, at an estimated cost of $450,000-$550,000.
Residents are also invited to write down their own ideas, if they differ from the four options listed.
Residents are asked to turn in their responses by Dec. 31 in order to allow the selectboard enough time to collate the results and fashion a Lavalley Store-related article for the town meeting warning for March 5, 2012. Hiland said 50 responses had been received as of last week. People can e-mail their completed surveys to Town Clerk Sue Johnson at [email protected], hand it to a selectboard member, mail it or drop it off at the town offices.
Hiland is hoping for a good response rate.
“We are looking for some good insight and context,” Hiland said.
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].

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